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At a glance: Germany

Germany celebrates CRC 18th anniversary with a call for ‘Children first!’

© Eventpress/Herrmann
Children gather at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified 18 years ago, on 20 November 1989. For this landmark anniversary, UNICEF has launched the 'CRC@18' campaign to raise awareness about child rights and the impact of the Convention. Here is one in a series of related stories.

BERLIN, Germany, 21 November 2007 – With a huge blue banner covering the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s landmark and memorial to the end of the Cold War, Germany celebrated the 18th birthday of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) yesterday.

The banner, which read ‘A Call from Berlin: Children First – Kinder haben Rechte’ (Children have Rights), was unrolled in the morning from the top of the gate. Measuring 12 by 6 metres, it is located in the immediate neighbourhood of parliament and government buildings.

More than 90 children from the Berlin International School, accompanied by journalist and UNICEF National Ambassador Sabine Christiansen, gathered in front of the banner and read parts of the Convention aloud. The young people claimed their rights as children and handed out small CRC booklets to passers-by.

“This was a perfect action this morning with a lot of kids,” said Ms. Christiansen. “We’re fighting here for children’s rights to keep on going strong for the next 18 years.”

‘Wish list’ of child rights

The ‘Children First’ banner served as a reminder to Germany of its obligations 15 years after the country’s ratification of the Convention.

Germany still has not withdrawn its reservations made in 1992 against parts of the CRC, and has yet to ratify the treaty’s Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography. Growing child poverty and discrimination against children from migrant families are also serious issues to be addressed here.

“All children have the right to a registered name and nationality,” said a young girl during the ceremony, as children read the list of rights that are still missing for many of their peers worldwide. The expectation is that soon, this wish list of rights will be granted.

Amy Bennett contributed to this story from New York.




20 November 2007:
UNICEF correspondent Amy Bennett reports on the special celebration of the CRC at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.
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